New York Jets Sign TE C.J. Uzomah
NFL Offseason - The New York Jets have found a much-needed security blanket for Zach Wilson, siging former Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah for three years and $24 million.
A fifth-round draft choice out of Auburn in 2015, Uzomah was a late bloomer in the NFL. He totaled barely a thousand yards receiving in his first six seasons, and missed 14 games in 2020 due to a torn Achilles. But he set new career highs with 49 catches, 493 yards, and five touchdowns in the regular season in 2021, then added 13 catches for 135 more yards and a score in Cincinnati's first two playoff games before a knee injury knocked him out of the AFC Championship Game and limited him in the Super Bowl. He has generally been a durable player, starting 15 games in 2018 and 16 in 2019.
This could be the kind of transaction that hurts a player's old team more than it helps their new one. The Bengals are in a tough division in what looks like the superior conference and already faced an uphill climb to return to the Super Bowl; every player they lose just makes that return trip that much harder. The Jets, on the other hand, are just trying to crawl back to respectability. Uzomah by himself won't do much to move the needle in 2022, and at 29 years old, he's likely to enter the decline phase of his career when (if?) New York is ready to contend for the playoffs again. That said, the Jets' goal in 2022 is to supply Zach Wilson with as many weapons as possible, and Uzomah is the kind of sure-handed possession receiver (12th in DVOA last year) the rookie simply didn't have in his first season.
C.J. Uzomah Overall Impact: The tight end position was a wasteland for the Jets last year; their top seven players in receptions and yardage were all wide receivers and running backs. In fact, the Jets haven't seen a tight end top even 400 yards since Chris Herndon in 2018. Ozumah gets them to an "average starter" baseline. He's not a game-changer on his own, but he proved capable of exploiting defenses that were focused on Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd last year. Whether he can do the same with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Braxton Berrios remains to be seen.
C.J. Uzomah Fantasy Impact: Limited, but not completely negligible. Uzomah was 17th at the position in fantasy scoring last year. That makes him a TE2, but he showed a higher ceiling in the playoffs last year, and that might bump him into low-end starter status in deeper leagues.
C.J. Uzomah's early KUBIAK projections @fboutsiders
On CIN: 51-511-4.0 (18th TE)
On NYJ: 53-519-3.6 (18th TE)
Uzomah addresses the biggest Jets' hole at pass catcher, but he'll need a soph. breakout from Zach Wilson to turn more targets into better production than he saw in CIN
— Scott Spratt (@Scott_Spratt) March 15, 2022